Mechanical and electrical repair technicians generally use hand tools to repair various equipment and machines. Read on to learn more about earnings, job growth and training for technicians who work in electrical and electronics, aircraft, general maintenance and small engine repair.
People rely on electrical and mechanical equipment in their everyday business and home environments. If you're interested in how electronic components and mechanical appliances and devices work, you can study general electrical theories and applications. Alternatively, you could specialize in a particular field of electromechanics, such as automotive or industrial equipment repair, or focus your career on electrical repair, like residential or aircraft wiring. Electromechanical equipment can include large equipment, such as manufacturing control systems, power distribution components, medical diagnostic machines and automotive engines. You could also choose to work on smaller residential devices, like thermostats, household appliances or media components, or business equipment, such as computers or copy machines.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), minimal to no change in employment was expected for aircraft mechanics and technicians, electrical and electronics installers and repairers and home appliance repairers nationwide from 2012-2022. While a slower-than-average growth in jobs was projected for small engine mechanics, medical equipment repairers can look forward to a 30%, or much-faster-than-average, increase in opportunities through 2022. By comparison, openings for general maintenance and repair workers were predicted to grow by 9% between 2012 and 2022, which is about average.
As reported by the BLS in May 2013, the average annual salary for aircraft mechanics and technicians was $57,610, while home appliance repair techs averaged $37,220 and medical equipment repairers earned an average of $47,120. In the same reporting period, electrical and electronics installers and repairers who specialized in motor vehicle work earned an average annual wage of $33,570, while those working on commercial and industrial equipment were paid an average of $54,230 a year.
As of May 2013, the average annual salary of small engine repair technician was $32,180, with general maintenance and repair workers earning an average of $37,710 (www.bls.gov).
You might not need formal education to work in electrical or mechanical repair; however, many colleges and postsecondary institutions offer vocational training in both of these areas. You can enroll in certificate, diploma or associate degree programs that can prepare you for entry-level opportunities in a number of specific disciplines. These programs offer coursework in troubleshooting, hand tools, AC/DC circuitry, robotics and electronic devices. You'll usually receive significant hands-on training in the classroom, via apprenticeships or through intern opportunities.
Alternatively, you could study general electricity through an associate degree program in electrical technology or mechanical engineering technology. Courses often cover the principles of electrical motor controls, alternating currents, systems analysis and electronics testing, as well as circuitry, electrical machines and power distribution.
Some mechanical and electrical workers might require specific licensure or certification, such as aviation mechanics. While not always required, certifications may be recommended for medical repair technicians or other specialized workers.